A couple of months ago I checked three books out from the library. Two of them were finished within two days, while I slowly slogged through the third (I’ll give you a moment to guess which) for weeks on end. I still haven’t finished it as of yet, although I’m not giving up hope. But after renewing them all twice, the time had finally come to return them. I’d already bought my own beautiful copy of the book I was still reading anyway.
I was in a hurry on my way somewhere else so I quickly grabbed the stack of books that had been sitting on my end table for weeks. Upon arriving at the library I flung them on the counter and hurried back to my car. Two days later I received this email:
Public Library Courtesy Reminder: The items listed below are due soon. Please return or renew these items to avoid additional fines.
TITLE: Moby Dick
CALL #: F MELVI
DUE DATE: 11-18-11
This confused me for quite a while since I had already returned it. Until I realized that the book in question was in my purse. Which means there was a very good chance that the night before last I had returned, in addition to the two library books, one of my very own. Either that or I simply didn’t notice that there were only two books in my hand. Both of which are entirely possibly given my lack of any observation skills. Awesome.
The situation prompted me to make a very good impression of an idiot on the phone with the librarian: “Hi, um, I returned some books the other day and I think I might have accidentally given you one of my books. Although I’m not entirely sure. What book? Welllll, I’m actually not entirely sure. It was probably a paperback and, you know, had a title. Maybe you could just have a quick look, see if you’ve got any of those?”
The librarian was less than amused. When I stopped by later that night, the person who had sorted the (mistakenly or otherwise) “donated” books wasn’t there, so they didn’t know where the books from the night before last would be. They let me look for anything familiar among their books for sale, but I was easily distracted several times by books I had read but didn’t think I owned and books that were on my to-read list that I couldn’t remember if I had already bought. Since I really didn’t want the possible theft of a book from a library (a damnable offense if I’ve ever heard one) on my conscience, I finally admitted defeat.
I really hope they enjoy my accidental donation. If I made one. I’m sure it was a good book. If it exists.